Whenever you feel like stress and mental instability take over your daily life, know that there is just a simple solution: Italy. What is better than treating yourself with a broad range of amazing Italian wines, delicious plates of local food, and great weather? That’s why I was so glad to have had the opportunity to study at the Bocconi University in Milan! My name is Kevin, I am currently in my third year of the Econometrics bachelor and some of you might know me as a TA for the first and second years’ students. I am glad to inform you why “Italy” is the only right answer to the question: “Where can I regain my inner peace?”
I couldn’t believe it when I heard that I was being picked for Milan. I wanted to go to Italy very badly (read: also applied for Bologna and Pisa), because - secretly - Italy is my real home country: ask me for travel advice and I’ll offer you your personalized detailed travel schedule, having been to Italy so often before. Italy just owns the full package of nice weather (in Summer months), amazing food and wine, breathtaking landscapes, cute ancient towns, nice people, and a language I had been willing to learn for so long… I couldn’t wait to go!
I had only been to Milan once shortly before, so the city was still a surprise for me. During the introduction week I met many amazing people during city tours, delicious and cheap get-together dinners (€11 aperitivo dinners), wine tastings (one of the reasons I signed up for all of this), fun parties, and swims in the Bagni Misteriosi. ESN Bocconi took us to beautiful places such as Lake Como, while me and my friends went to travel a lot on our own as well.
Milan has so much more to offer than the well-known Duomo: walk a bit further and Milan lets you immerse yourself in the Italian culture and history - it requires some effort, though. Are you in for shopping? Walk to the shopping street next to Duomo or the Corso Buenos Aires. Do you need cocktails? Visit the Navigli area. Do you miss the nostalgic feeling of ancient Italian towns with narrow cobbled streets and cute lights? Go to the Brera zone. Want something more modern? CityLife (Tre Torri) is the place to be. Do you need insta worthy picture spots? Visit the Vittoria Emmanuelle or Bosco Verticale (towers overgrown by plants). More of a museum goer? Palazzo Morando, Museo del Novecento and Museo Nazionale della Scienza offer a lot. To conclude: Milan is the place to be.
The Bocconi University is known for being very prestigious and one could definitely sense that: students entering the classroom in high-class fashion, futuristic buildings and - for people who are going to Milan next year - a newly built and recently opened campus, renowned professors… however, the campus is a lot smaller than in Rotterdam, and the courses are mostly equally doable as at Erasmus. Besides, things at Bocconi are managed in a very relaxed way: when exams are supposed to start at 9 o’clock, don’t be surprised if the exam supervisor comes 15 minutes late. Also, you don’t need to speak Italian as English does suffice, but it’s highly recommended to take Italian language courses and delve into the Italian lifestyle.
Other places to visit
From Milan it only takes an hour or less to visit the peaceful towns of Como and Lecco situated at Lake Como. Other cities that belong to the list are Turin, Pavia, and the ‘Romeo-and-Juliet’ city of Verona. However, there is one place that makes it to the top spot of the list, and it is Cinque Terre. This place - or rather five, as it consists of 5 picturesque towns - is the realization of heaven and offers everything: cute houses in various colors, cobbled uphill streets, hiking paths through the mountains, stony and sandy beaches, sea kayaking tracks, beautiful sunset views, and most important of all, (good food and) wines. Let the healing begin.
It doesn’t matter which destinations you apply for for your exchange, as long as all three of them are in Italy… I can’t wait to be back :)